Historical romance received some flak a few years back, with the genre often dubbed as “bodice-rippers” by some of its critics. However, the genre has produced several notable oeuvres, one of which is Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander which has been adapted into a TV series by Starz starring Catriona Balfe and Sam Heughan.
Outlander begins in 1945, when Claire Beauchamp Randall, a British World War II nurse, is on a second honeymoon with her husband Frank in Scotland to reconnect with each other after being separated by the war. While exploring the mystical standing stones in Inverness, she is taken back to 1743 where she meets her husband’s dastardly ancestor Black Jack Randall, the series’ main villain, and the dashing Jamie Fraser, the young heir to the Scottish estate Lallybroch who is in hiding among his MacKenzie relatives following some misadventures involving the British forces occupying Scotland at the time. Circumstances forced Claire and Jamie to marry each other (despite Claire’s prior marriage to Frank in the 20th century), and the two found themselves falling in love amidst the challenges brought about by witchcraft accusations against Claire, Black Jack’s wicked intrusions in their lives and the upcoming Jacobite rebellion.
Outlander is a highly complex and engaging show which deserves your binge-watching hours due to the following reasons:
- A complicated love story. Claire and Jamie come from very different time periods which shaped their very different points of view. Things are further complicated by Claire’s conflicted feelings for Frank whose existence she must protect by ensuring that his ancestor Black Jack Randall does not meet his demise until he has already fathered a child.
- A strong and smart female lead. Claire uses her wits, her knowledge of history and her medical background to navigate and survive 18th century Scotland. She is outspoken (sometimes to her detriment) but she stands by her principles and has an overwhelming drive to help others.
- A hunky and “woke” male lead. Jamie Fraser is a product of his time, with a strong inclination to protect his loved ones, particularly the women in his life. He even took a flogging to protect his sister from rape. However, as he gets to know Claire, he grows to appreciate her independent nature and even believes her when she confesses her time traveling.
- Sex scenes that are hot but not lascivious. Outlander’s sex scenes are often said to be made for the female gaze as opposed to the male’s. The camera lingers on Jamie’s physique as it does on Claire and the on-screen love-making are in turns hot, tender and funny.
- Writing that does not shy away from and builds on the shock value. Black Jack Randall is among the darkest characters on TV and his dealings with Jamie, particularly in the episode “To Ransom a Man’s Soul,” is riveting yet almost painful to watch.
Outlander episodes are available on Amazon Prime. Not yet on Amazon Prime? Start your 30-day free trial today!
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